Thanichalla Njaan, which bagged two national awards, is based on a real-life story.
“Thanichalla Njaan (I am not alone) amply testifies that we are all one and that communalism is a bane,’’ says Bobby Avagama, producer of the movie which won the Nargis Dutt National Award for the Best Film on National Integration.
For Avagama who took his diploma in film-making from the New York University in 1990, it was sheer co-incidence to re-enter the filmdom after a gap of two decades. First he supported his daughter Mariam Anoop who came forward to produce Sthalam, a film on mangrove conservation directed by Kaviyoor Sivaprasad with Kallen Pokkudan in the lead.
And later he stepped in when Babu Thiruvalla, his friend, decided to direct Thanichalla Njaan, based on the real life story of Razia Beevi, vice-president of Ambalapuzha grama panchayat, and an elderly Brahmin woman, Chellamma Antharjanam, a member of her ward.
The 87-year-old Antharjanam, a widow, had decided to end her life after she was jettisoned by her relatives 12 years ago. It was a co-incidence that Beevi rescued Antharjanam from the railway track while she was walking towards an approaching train. Beevi took Antharjanam home where husband and their four sons accorded her a warm welcome. Beevi, undittered by the opposition from different quarters, made use of the panchayat fund to construct a house for the Antharjanam and even spent some of her won money to complete it.
While KPAC Lalitha acted as Antharjanam, Kalpana, cast as Razia Beevi won the national award for supporting actor. In the movie, the Antharjanam dies defeating Beevi’s plans to arrange her funeral rites as per the Hindu custom. The former had left instructions in her will that her body must be donated for medical research.
The crew were planning to hold public screening of the movie in villages across the State if there were no takers for its distribution. But certain distributors have now come forward following the national recognition, says Bobby. The cast includes Sattar, Ashokan, Sivaji Guruvayur, Kollam Thulasi, Santhakumari and Charutha Baiju.